• Season finale of “The Walking Dead” disappoints, underwhelms

    Only the extremely talented can pull off an intentional anticlimax in the long-winded TV format, and it’s tough to make viewers feel like they haven’t wasted their time without giving them a payoff of some sort. The season finale of “The Walking Dead,” on the other hand, did nothing but deflate the conflict the entire season had been building up to, making for a climax that was anything but satisfying.

    Sure, the Governor (David Morrissey) blew up some guard towers in a short-lived attempt to invade the prison, and our heroes brought the fight to Woodbury, but nothing came together in any sort of meaningful fashion. The two sides never even came face-to-face in combat, with the Governor offing his entire army in a bizarre twist and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) leading his team into a deserted Woodbury.

    The Governor’s survival isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the writing team never got a handle on what sort of antagonist they wanted Morrissey to play, essentially setting a talented actor afloat in a vaguely defined character. His choice to wipe out everyone fighting for him was just another bizarre decision made in service of the plot.

    Speaking of muddled characters, Andrea (Laurie Holden) finally met her end in a rather unspectacular fashion. Trapped in a room with the mortally wounded Governor flunkie Milton (Dallas Roberts), Andrea was presented with a ticking clock until Milton became a zombie and a pair of pliers to free herself with. In a feat of time mismanagement, Andrea still found time to deliver lengthy monologues to Milton before freeing herself. While it was tragic to see the zombified Milton take Andrea out, it was hard not to think she may have had it coming for the endless stream of illogical decisions the show has pushed her into over the last three seasons.

    Despite“The Walking Dead’s” tendency to be nonsensical, horribly written and completely inconsistent, it is still one of the most addictive shows on TV for reasons beyond any sort of logical explanation. Maybe it’s the one thing the show does manage to consistently deliver, the zombie carnage, which never fails to entertain and disgust. Or maybe it’s to simply see what harebrained decision Rick will stumble into next. Either way, when “The Walking Dead” returns in the fall, I’ll watch with significantly lowered expectations, ready for preposterous violence but not confident in any emotional investment or satisfying storytelling.

     
  • Why targeted advertising may not be so bad

    An irate father barges into a Target retail store location in Minneapolis and complains that his teenage daughter has been receiving coupons for diapers and other common baby products. He fears that the large corporation has been attempting to encourage the teenager to become pregnant. So what’s the twist? Target accurately deduced that the girl was pregnant before her dad could.

    The fallout from this event has been concern over privacy and safety violations by companies like Target. By compiling a historical list of purchases from customers, Target is capable of analyzing buying patterns and profiling an individual’s lifestyle. But does this really constitute an invasion of privacy? Is this kind of marketing strategy dangerous?

    The system itself is not dangerous, since it’s simply a marketing tool. Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and hundreds of other websites use your personal information to customize visual, auditory and textual advertisements. For example, by listing that you like soccer on your Facebook wall, there is a high probability that advertisements for soccer camp, shoes and gear will appear in the margins of your browser.

    Right now, the technology behind this system is rather clunky and can be annoying, often soliciting things that people may no longer have an interest in. But imagine encountering advertisements that make you aware of internship opportunities that you didn’t know about. What about not having to sit through another dumb Progressive commercial even though you don’t own a car or house or receiving information that actually means something rather than a 30 second intermission from the new "Game of Thrones" episode?

    As of now, patient medical information is protected heavily under federal law, yet highly revealing statistical information from consumers is not. As these marketing developments become increasingly personal, there needs to be an equivalent barrier of protection by the law for consumers.